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Free SHS Renders PTAs Inactive   
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Mr Robert Kmpusi, Assistant Headmaster of the Navrongo Senior High School (NAVASCO) has observed that the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) policy for the past academic year has slowed activities of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) in addressing some significant needs of the school.

He said the PTA played critical role in infrastructural development, provided support in running school activities, which made living conditions on campus comfortable to both students and teachers, which invariably improved academic work.

He said even though the Free SHS policy had some advantages, the major challenge the school faced was irregular flow of funds, and disclosed that “there is cross-financing, we borrow from the PTA while we wait for the grants, so that anytime the grants are paid, then we replace.”

Mr Kmpusi made this known when the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) visited the school as part of its weeklong facts finding visit to the region to ascertain the progress of the Free SHS policy and other projects funded from the petroleum revenue.

He said the PTA levies were gradually fizzling out because only second and third year students were paying PTA levies, and noted that they would have nothing to rely on if the policy takes over and government grants are delayed, and reiterated that “the irregular flow of the funds is a big challenge.”

The Assistant Headmaster said some heads of SHS have had to hide from food suppliers because anytime it was announced that feeding grants were released, suppliers immediately trooped to schools for payments, thereby compelling some headmasters to hide because the monies would usually not hit their accounts immediately, even though announcements are made.

“There is also a challenge that puts undue pressure on teachers, the teachers will do their best and when the students do not perform, the blame is on the teachers, but sometimes the caliber of grades of the students that are brought here are not the best”.

According to the Assistant Headmaster “There are some of them that at the end of term examination, apart from writing their names, all they do is to reproduce the questions. So how do you promote such students. We are at a loss because we are supposed to go wholesale,” he lamented.

In spite of the challenges including congestion at the dormitories, Mr Kmpusi said core textbooks and uniforms however were provided on time and that enabled academic work to commence early.
Source: GNA

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